Loretta Lynn, “Queen of Country Music”, dies at the age of 90

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Loretta Lynn, the most decorated woman in country music, died Tuesday morning at the age of 90 at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, her family announced in a expression. Born the second of eight children to a coal miner in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, she left an indelible mark on country music with her sharp, snappy twang. Described by some as the “queen of country music,” Lynn wrote songs that championed birth control in the 1970s and rebelled against a male-dominated and morally policed ​​industry.

She became outwardly a Republican in her old age, relay a message joined the majority of white Kentucky women in vocally supporting politicians Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. While this certainly and profoundly complicates any sort of “feminist” legacy, the messages in much of their music contradicted then-conservative notions of a woman’s place in the world.

Lynn’s colossal discography collected and communicated working women’s anger at the hypocrisy of the system. Her songs have explored topics such as unwanted sexual attention (“Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind)”) and the stigma of divorce (“Rated X”). Even her songs, which adhered to more traditional country music themes of loyalty and cheating (“Fist City”, “You Ain’t Woman Enough”), were sung with a grim sharpness that set her apart from her warmer and sweeter ways contemporaries.

The combination of stylistic strength and lyrical and thematic boldness made it inevitable that one of their most famous songs, “The Pill,” would also be their most controversial. Before she was 20, Lynn had four children and would later have two more. While she herself has never been on contraception, the “Poet Laureate of Working Women” is said People Magazine in a 1975 interview:

“If I had had the pill back when I had babies, I would have taken it like popcorn. The pill is good for people. I wouldn’t trade my children for anyone. But I wouldn’t necessarily have had six, and I certainly would have spread them out better.”

“The Pill,” for those lucky enough to hear it for the first time, is about a married woman’s defiant decision to switch to birth control and regain some control over her marriage and her life. “All these years I’ve stayed home/ While you had all your fun/ And every year that’s gone by/ Another baby has come,” she sings, noting the husband in her song that she’s done with the pregnancy is that she’s “up for all these years/ Ever since I’ve been on the pill.” It’s celebratory, it’s bold and it’s matter-of-fact. she said in conversation with parade: “I just write what I feel, what’s going on with me and my life. It just so happened that many other women felt the same way. I would never write anything just to shock someone.” What made Lynn incredibly special was her ability to get to the heart of what was bothering you and sing outraged about it. She expressed a lot of women’s anger because it was her anger too.

Lynn, who dared to sing about not wanting to be pregnant for a single year, sent the industry into a tailspin. Though Lynn was released a full 15 years after the FDA approved birth control, Lynn’s label was nervous that country music audiences weren’t ready to hear a woman sing about her physical autonomy. You were partly right. Country music gatekeepers, almost all men in those days, couldn’t take a little song about a little pill. Radio stations refused to play the song and the New York Times explained that the “new breed of country songs separates sex from pleasure, undermines conjugal love and fidelity, and demeans women.” The 1975 article reads: “Few could listen to these songs without coming to the realization that man’s soul is defiled with the corruption of his transgressions.”

But you know who fucking loved it? Women and regular old Joes who caught the wave of the rising tide of feminism in the ’70s. Not only did the song hit the charts, so did Lynn said play girl in a 1975 interview that “medical professionals routinely told her that ‘The Pill’ had done more to promote rural acceptance of birth control than any official effort by medical or social services.”

Of course, her pride in that achievement clearly clashes with her eventual affiliation with the GOP, a party morbidly devoted to spreading disinformation about women’s reproductive rights and access. While it’s not to be celebrated, Lynn has once again nailed a fundamental truth about many women: We’re full of chaotic contradictions, and our actions don’t always align with the self-mythologies we’ve created in our heads.

Lynn’s later politics were hard to stomach as someone so attached to her empowering anthems. But these radical, catchy anthems nonetheless cemented themselves in a feminist story and resonated beyond country music and Lynn herself. May she rest in peace.

https://jezebel.com/loretta-lynn-queen-of-country-music-dies-at-90-1849614586 Loretta Lynn, “Queen of Country Music”, dies at the age of 90

Adam Bradshaw

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